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Expert Oracle Database Architecture: Oracle Database 9i, 10g, and 11g Programming Techniques and Solutions Paperback – July 26, 2010
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About the Author
Thomas Kyte is vice president of the Core Technologies Group at Oracle Corporation and has been with the company since version 7.0.9 was released in 1993. Kyte, however, has been working with Oracle since version 5.1.5c. At Oracle, Kyte works with the Oracle database, and more specifically, he helps clients who are using the Oracle database and works directly with them specifying and building their systems or rebuilding and tuning them. Prior to working at Oracle, Kyte was a systems integrator who built large-scale, heterogeneous databases and applications for military and government clients.Tom Kyte is the same "Ask Tom" whose column appears in Oracle Magazine, where he answers questions about the Oracle database and tools that developers and database administrators struggle with every day.
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Like the first edition Tom spends careful time upfront with a whole long section just on setting up your "environment". Now for those folks who don't use the command line often, you had best dig out your guides, howtos and documentation, and bring yourself up to speed.
The book is laid out with endless examples of how to do things illustrated using sql*plus the Oracle shell. As he reminds us, this is far and away the best way to learn about the inner workings of the database, and his clear and step-by-step examples really drive that home.
As he explains, you'll find that the chapters are mostly self-contained, so you can read them in different order, while still making sense of the whole. Chapter 1 discusses database applications overall, and in particular how to best utilize the Oracle technology and horsepower you've licensed.
Chapter 2 covers the overall architecture of an oracle database outlining how instances are different than a database, and how RAC fits into the picture.
There may be some area you are weaker in, such as memory structures - the PGA, SGA and UGA. So jump straight to chapter 4 for that. Want to know more about locks and latches, chapter 6 will cover that material.
When you get to chapter 10 on tables, you will realize just how much the database has evolved over the years. How many different types of tables are there? There are heap tables, index organized tables, index clustered tables, hash clustered tables, nested tables, temp tables, and object tables. Wow, that's quite a long list.
Remaining chapters give equal attention to indexes, datatypes, partitioning, parallelization, data loading and unloading, and finally encryption.
If you're a DBA you might be left wondering, well where's the chapter on rman or RAC, or dataguard. Remember though that this book is really targeted at developers, and what they should know architecturally to write good applications. That said it is so thorough, and detailed, that a DBA will surely gain a lot of knowledge and insight within these pages as well.
Now that I've finished waxing on about what a great read this book is, I'll add one small little criticism. Tom is vary passionate about the technology. This really comes across in the level of detail and knowledge hey conveys on the pages. If however you work with alternative database systems as well, such as SQL Server, or *gasp* MySQL, you might at times find the tone a bit evangelistic. I chalk this up to great enthusiasm.
If you want to really know how the Oracle core database technology works, turn to a passionate guy like Tom Kyte to get the skinny!
Tom covers the fundamental concepts and deep insights using simple conversational language, in the style of his "Ask Tom" columns. The book also provides many useful examples, codes and tips on resolving real world issues. An example of bind variables tells how much hard parsing utilizes resources (cpu/latches etc) and I was also impressed that Tom always finds ways to measure the usage. I had some blurred concepts about LOBs and parallel query/DML/DDL. This book helped me to clarify them. The book also covers some 11g new features. We need to keep track of what Oracle has already done to avoid reinventing the wheel.
I also enjoyed the following sections and found them useful and interesting:
- How (and How Not) to Develop Database Applications
- Bad Transaction Habits
- Frequently Asked Questions and Myths About Indexes
To develop a successful Oracle application, we should understand the database inside out. What I like the most about this book is that it not only tells you "what" but also "how"; explains not only "when" and "why" but also "when not" and "why not". That's the main reason I read Tom's book and visit his site - to get the "why" behind the methods. It's uncomfortable to implement something without knowing why.
You don't have to read this book from cover to cover - although it would be a good idea to do so. Each chapter can be read as a standalone piece. The book can also be an excellent, handy reference to put on your bookshelf.
Chapter 1: "Developing Successful Oracle Applications" is a great summary of the whole book.
Chapters 2-5 are about Oracle's architecture, memory, files and processes.
Chapters 6-9 cover concurrency and transaction control, such as locks and latches, redo and undo.
Chapters 10-13 are about objects including tables, indexes, data types and partitions.
Chapters 14-16 cover parallel executions, data loading and security (encryption, etc.).
I agree with Tom in that, a developer (and DBA) should not treat the database as a "black box". Armed with the knowledge and skills gained from this book, you can at least make the black box translucent, if not transparent. I feel that it's much more worthwhile to get a good book and learn from it at your leisure than to spend a lot of money taking shallow training classes.
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